Skewed Observations: Powerbooks on Bicycle Diaries

Welcome to the Battlefield_Man’s new category: Skewed Observations. And what is it all about? Just plain observations. I could say random observations of the things, places, events, actions and anything under the sun that nobody cares to rant about or needs to be called for an attention.

For my first entry, or observation: Powerbooks.

Admittedly, I am not a bookworm. I only read books that interest me — Marketing, Graphic Design, Photography. But lately, I’ve been hooked on reading travel essays — may it be a writer’s chronicles or a collective travel essays — my cup of tea for my late night, extra curricular activity. I find this branch of literary work more aspirational over than fiction and other forms of literary works. And it is quite short to digest.

Upon searching book titles on travel for my future set of latenight read, I came across a page about this new book of David Byrne on the net.

Bicycle Diaries hardbound cover

I find the book intriguing — cover design wise. So I flip the virtual Google pages looking for more information about the title until I landed to its official site. Below is a brief description about the book:

Bicycle Diaries chronicles David’s observations and insights — what he is seeing, whom he is meeting, what he is thinking about — as he pedals through and engages with some of the world’s major cities. In places like Buenos Aires, Istanbul, San Francisco, and London, the focus is more on the musicians and artists he encounters. Politics comes to the fore in cities like Berlin and Manila, while chapters on New York City, and on the landscaped suburban industrial parks and contemporary ruins of such spots as Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Columbus are more concerned with history in the urban landscape.”

(Manila?! Yes. You’ve read it clearly with no typographical error about it.)

Like an opening scenario about a lad who saw his puppy love passes by. I didn’t hesitate to go out and set my quest to look for this book. Where else? Of course in Powerbooks (since it’s near to our place). In case to some who doesn’t know about Powerbooks, this is not a quaint “the shop around the corner” book store of Kathleen Kelly a character played by Meg Ryan— it is one of the major specialty bookstore in the Philippines.

Upon entering the bookstore’s premises, in Robinson’s Place Ermita. I went straight ahead to the travel section where I usually go and look for this kind of read. It was disappointing when I reached the shelves and saw nothing about the title. At first, I thought the book was not yet for international distribution. At this time, the scenario was the lad who got out from the diner to follow his puppy love and when he sharp turn right corner of the street, he lost her.

So, I stood up. Moved two to three steps backward and when I made a turned left, I saw the book. Shimmering bright orange cover. As if it was staring hard at me the whole time. And to my amazed, it was under the sports section! What the… sports section? Said to myself in complete and utterly dismay.

Luckily, there was an extra book free of plastic wrap for customer browsing. I’m hoping that it was just me who got a wrong impression of the book. What I did was searched and scanned the inside pages of the book, looking for something, maybe a passage, a story piece, that will strongly connect, unify or link it to sports other than the word “bicycle” and a pictograph of an pathologically thin man on a bicycle. But none of the pages I browsed was suggesting that this is a sport literature at all.

Since then, it never left my mind and I kept on coming back, just to be sure, to Powerbooks and to its other branches to see if the title is still under sports section. But hope fails. It’s still there — sitting high and mighty.

I just don’t know what Powerbooks was thinking when they categorized and mistakenly placed this book under sports. I think Powerbooks should start “reading” carefully. No offense meant to Powerbooks, but I’ve been meaning to rant about this observation since I saw the book over the net a month ago. Though, this book by David Byrne is an interesting read.

Just so you know, I haven’t got the book yet. Just a whooping PhP1,3oo plus (less than US$28) tag price on it. Will wait ’til its price goes down to, at least, US$16 or less.


About battlefield_man

Jocas A. See. Visual communication designer. And a casual tourist

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